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Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Acting Spokesman
June 8, 2000

Zimbabwe: U.S. Calls for End to Political Intimidation

Given the long-standing U.S. friendship for the people of Zimbabwe, we are deeply troubled that Zimbabwe's previous reputation as a law-abiding, democratic society is in jeopardy. Violence and intimidation are undermining the rule of law and the very foundation of democracy in Zimbabwe. The United States calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to make the right choices to lead Zimbabwe to genuine democracy and prosperity. We condemn the ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation being waged by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

We are dismayed that the ruling party has expanded its violent campaign beyond the occupation of farms to include the beating and rape of teachers, city workers, election monitors, and other professionals. We deplore the forced relocation of farm workers to "re-education" camps and the murder of opposition political candidates. We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately take the necessary steps so that all Zimbabweans can vote freely and without fear in this month's parliamentary election. The legitimacy of the elections will be in serious doubt unless the Government of Zimbabwe acts now to restrain the forces of violence it has unleashed and reassure voters of the secrecy of the ballot.

The United States Government supports the development of a vibrant democracy in Zimbabwe. Democracy cannot flourish, and indeed will be hindered for years to come, unless the Government of Zimbabwe ends the occupation of farms, allows the police to investigate political crimes, and recalls the supporters it has directed to intimidate the population at large.

[end of document]

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